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Kings still second fiddle to Sharks
Marleau records 1st 3-point game of the season
11/7/11 - By Mike Lee -

After being eliminated by the Sharks from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring, you'd think the Los Angeles Kings would have been a little more motivated to exact a little revenge on Monday night . Playing San Jose for the first time since their playoff elimination, the Kings failed to prove they're primed to unseat the Sharks as division champs, dropping a 4-2 decision to San Jose at HP Pavilion. San Jose brushed off a sluggish opening period, then scored 3 goals in the 2nd period to brushing off the bridesmaids from the south. Patrick Marleau scored three points, including his 4th goal of the season to help pace San Jose, and Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle each added a goal and an assist.

San Jose didn't exactly come out of the gate like gang-busters, chasing the Kings for much of the opening period.

The Sharks had few opportunities in the offensive zone in the period, and when they did cross the Kings blueline they were uncorking long perimeter shots that the Kings were blocking in front of goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Quick only faced 7 shots in the opening 20 minutes. By comparison, Antti Niemi had to make 14 saves in that 1st period. Niemi is used to facing that many shots in a game, much less in a period.

That all changed in the middle period.

A tripping penalty to Scott Parse setup a power play in the 2nd period that should have resulted in a goal for Joe Thornton, but Quick made a spectacular save by throwing his left pad across the goal mouth to deny the Sharks captain.

Torrey Mitchell didn't help the Sharks sorry penalty kill numbers in the 2nd period, taking a lazy hooking penalty with Colin White already in the box. Los Angeles had 20 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time, and utilized it well by converting 10 seconds into Mitchell's penalty. Jack Johnson sent in a rocket from the point, beating Niemi for the 1-0 lead.

San Jose finally abandoned the long shots and started to generate some offense with plays in tight. Joe Thornton tied the game with his 4th goal of the season, throwing a puck on net from outside the right post at 11:39. Quick tried to get a glove over to the post, but the puck deflected off his mitt and into the goal.

Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks the lead less than a minute later by deflecting a Dan Boyle shot over Quick's right shoulder. The Sharks setup the scoring chance by racing up ice with speed and creating space.

Willie Mitchell put his team two-men down late in the period by cross-checking Logan Couture in the back of the head with Matt Greene already in the box for interference. Dan Boyle made the Kings pay for Mitchell's indiscretion by burying his 1st goal of the season .

"I felt like I've been playing with a tennis ball most of this year so far, the puck's been bouncing a lot," said Boyle. "With an open net like that, everybody in the building expects you to put it in, but sometimes, the puck's bouncing around. It was nice to get rewarded, finally, for putting the puck on net."

Ryane Clowe could have given the Sharks a 3-goal cushion after he found himself all alone with the puck in the Kings zone. Quick waited out the Sharks forward, who tried to cut across the slot from left to right and put a backhand shot past the Kings netminder.

The Kings defense hung Quick out to dry in the 3rd period. San Jose put a constant stream of pucks in his direction, which culminated in Logan Couture's 6th goal of the season at 6:40. Marc-Edouard Vlasic setup Couture's tall by throwing a puck at the net, creating a big rebound. With no King defenders in the vicinity, Couture swept a backhand shot over Quick for the 4-1 lead.

"Our team's so interchangeable," added Couture. "Guys play with each other all the time. Different lines are expected to step up every night, and that's what makes teams good teams. Any given night, we've got four lines we can throw out there, and they're going to produce. It's nice to see different guys get different goals."

White was sent off again at 8:10 for cross-checking, and the Kings capitalized. Anze Kopitar awoke from his nap and put a follow up shot past Niemi after beating the Sharks defense on the right side.

Couture took an interference penalty with 1:22 to play so Kings head coach Terry Murray pulled Quick for the extra attacker. San Jose clamped down on the abridged power play, preventing any pucks from reaching Niemi, closing out the game.

"It's one of our more complete games," sad Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "There were still segments in our game; it's hard to paint the perfect picture. I thought we recovered when we were pushed. We found ways to get back into the game when we were behind. Everybody got a chance to contribute, so it was a complete game, or as close as we've come to one."

Game Notes:

Joe Thornton's second period goal and assist in the third gives him 1,014 career points, tying him for 73rd on the NHL's all-time points list with Jarome Iginla. Also, Thornton is now alone in 49th place on the NHL's all-time assist list with 704.

Ryane Clowe extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one point to three games.

Joe Pavelski recorded his eighth multiple-point game of the season.




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Scoring
1 2 3 T
LA 0 1 1 2
SJ 0 3 1 4
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, LA, Johnson 4 (Doughty, Kopitar), 6:19, (pp). 2, SJ, Thornton 4 (Marleau, Pavelski), 11:39. 3, SJ, Marleau 4 (Boyle, Clowe), 12:35. 4, SJ, Boyle 1 (Pavelski, Marleau), 17:02, (pp).
3rd period - 5, SJ, Couture 6 (Vlasic, Thornton), 6:40. 6, LA, Kopitar 8 (Doughty, Quick), 8:28, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Moreau, LA (boarding), 2:09; Handzus, SJ (hooking), 5:07.
2nd period - Parse, LA (tripping), 1:29; White, SJ (roughing), 4:28; Mitchell, SJ (hooking), 6:14; Clifford, LA (tripping), 9:25; Greene, LA (interference), 15:29; Mitchell, LA (cross checking), 16:19.
3rd period - White, SJ (cross checking), 8:10; Panner, LA (hooking) 9:32; D. Murray, SJ (holding the stick), 12:36; Couture, SJ (interference), 18:38.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
LA - Quick 38 34
SJ - Niemi 31 29
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
LA 14 8 9 31
SJ 7 21 10 38
Power Play Conversion
LA 2 of 6
SJ 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Joe Thornton
Dan Boyle
Attendence
17,562
Officials
Referees: Meier, Pochmara. Linesmen: Murray, Murray.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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